Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Millennial Leadership

Volume: February 2017

Due to the popularity of last month’s newsletter (Leading Millennials), we are continuing our series on multi-generational leadership. The focus of our February newsletter is millennials as leaders. Yes, the children of baby boomers have grown up and they are taking charge. So let us look at the many positives that this group of 80 million 17-36 year olds brings to the table.

  1. Fresh & Different Viewpoints. The millennials have a different way of looking at things. They bring different ideas and fresh viewpoints to the table. They have grown up in a more diverse world. They themselves are a more diverse generation. Consider that roughly 15% of millennials aged 21 – 34 were born outside of the United States. Many of them are bi-lingual or more. That’s new. In addition, they see the world as a global marketplace. Millennials believe we should continually educate ourselves about one another. Nice.
  2. Women Leaders. The millennials are less caught up in gender bias with regard to who is leading the show. They are more interested in competence than gender, tenure, or seniority. This will lead to an increasingly even playing field with regard to gender and competence in leadership roles. Oh, and their perspective generally cuts across ethnic lines as well. In other words, millennials tend to put gender and race on the sidelines and focus more on who and how best to accomplish things. 
  3. Collaboration. Millennials derive sincere satisfaction from group accomplishment. This does not mean that other generational leaders do not. It simply means that, perhaps, more millennials see success as a group-think kind of thing. This collaboration mentality will be important as organizations expand and accept their matrix structures. In addition, as organizational globalization continues, since globalization is unavoidable, millennial leaders will be well positioned to effectively lead the charge.
  4. Innovation. When you are a digital native and grow up playing complex video games, you adore technology. In addition, you thirst for better and better technology. After all, it makes the game better. Therefore, it is little wonder that millennial leaders push for innovation and better technology. As a bonus, millennials are rarely deflated by technology that “breaks” or is ineffective. They understand that with a little effort and a different focus, technology can be enhanced and become awesome. They also understand that innovative technology can be a wonderful connectivity tool. Case in point: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.   
  5. Social Responsibility. Philanthropy looms large in free societies. Giving and creating non-governmental safety nets is one of the main differentiators between successful social experiments and those that are less so. Previous generations have established rich, meaningful philanthropies that make a difference in our world. Millennials are hard-wired for social responsibility. It is just as much a part of their DNA as is technology. Millennials seek to help others, and demand that their organizations are a part of and have a clear, focused contribution to social philanthropy.
  6. Work-Life Balance. I am not saying that millennial leaders have mastered the art of work-life balance. They struggle with work-life balance just like every other leader. However, the millennial leader understands that work is a long game and they want their professional journey to hold more balance than what they witnessed in previous generations. The desire for work-life balance does not make millennials lazy. It does not mean that they are unfocused. It simply means that they understand that they can work any time, any place, and if Twenty One Pilots is in concert on a Wednesday night, work be-darned, they’re going.
Bottom Line: According to census projections and various large-data studies, by 2020 50% of the workforce will be millennials. Many of them are and will be in leadership roles. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. The trend and numbers are undeniable. What is also undeniable is the fresh, capable leadership that millennials bring to the world. The future is in good hands, my friends. We will have innovation. We will have fresh ideas. We will have better balance. We will have leadership. What’s not to like?!

Until next time, be well.
Doug Van Dyke is a Twenty One Pilots fan. In addition, he is a Tampa Bay based executive coach, leadership development expert, strategic planner, and Certified Speaking Professional. To enroll in one of our professional development programs, call 941-776-1121, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or visit LeadershipSimplified.com  
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